I am the very happy new owner of a KS 18L as a first wheel.
I wanted to post my experience about learning on this wheel but also ask few questions to other 18L riders about the alarms.
I am 175cm/78Kg (5'9"/172lbs), 39yrs, never had a unicycle, riding in Chicago with the goal to replace my train commute. Roads are mostly flat, but lots of them are full of potholes or in renovation (aka streets half tiered down with gravels and bumps that even a car driver would hate). I received my 18L from eWheels at the end of August, so it is part of the "Batch2". I also got the 5A turbo charger for it, and it works great.
My experience learning to ride a unicycle on the 18L
It's not harder to learn on the 18L. While I have obviously no way to compare a first experience on another wheel, I have learned to ride it in 4 days, spending 30-45 min each day (could not dedicate more time to it)
It seems to me that experiences in skiing, ice skating, surfing, riding a bike without using hands, etc.. are the best lead indicators of an easy/fast learning curve. It's just another variation of finding your body balance.
In day 1-2, I was practicing on my backyard on the pavement (maybe 20x10 ft): so just enough to get on and off. That's not enough distance to go fast at all, and all the balance exercises were happening at extremely low speed. I realized on day 3 in the back alley that some additional speed (and anything would have been faster than on day 1-2) was providing the stability I needed to feel comfortable and stay on the wheel. Turning is like skiing, shifting your weight on your legs. More work is needed for me to exhibit total grace but the main point here is that if the 18L was hypothetically hard to learn, I did not experience it.
I ran on FW 1.07 Day 1-3 and upgraded to FW 1.11 on day 4. I did not feel any differences, but that's probably because I have not yet internalized the wheel's behavior. Note that I have only checked my tire pressure on day 5, and realized that it was only ~20 PSI. So possibly, learning on at lower pressure was easier because once I updated to ~40-45 PSI, it was harder to get on.
On day 6, I commuted to work: I had terrible wobbling at medium-high speed, but thanks to the posts on this site I got rid of it by lowering the pressure a little (~35 PSI) and by adjusting my feet positioning.
I would say that the most impactful posts for me were the ones from @houseofjob on feet positioning techniques. I can totally relate to analogies with skiing (I actually surprised wanting to turn like skiing: using a pole, tight the wheel between my legs and jump ?). The major tip for me was his "diagonal riding" that totally got rid of my wobbling wheel effect. I also found that balancing weight on each foot like "ice skating" slowly works too; too well maybe as the wheel keeps on accelerating while ice skating would just maintain speed (due to the resistance of the ice).
On day 7, I don't have any real issues, commuting to work is great but it's still an adventure due to Chicago's traffic/roads, and It reduces my commute time by 25%. I keep on hitting the level 3 alarm (set at 35 km/h) with too much ease, which leads me to my only complain & question with this wheel: the alarms.
I have not experienced any lights issues, locks, or trolley handle problems at this point.
Lifting the wheel works 100% of the time for me when I do it in 2 steps: 1) I give a brief pull up on the handle ( just the handle not the whole the tire) to get the "beep", and then 2) I lift the whole wheel up.
I set the wheel configuration on "experienced" on day 1, as I did not see the benefits to learn a soft wheel behavior to then change it to a more reactive one: better to just learn the reactive one from the beginining.
When I started riding the 18L, I hit the "back tilt" quite easily with the default settings. I then changed the speed limit values to allow me to ride without getting to the "back tilt" that quickly. That's when it hit me: the "back tilt" is supposed to be the last warning. I understand that the wheel is supposed to "Beep" or "Vibrate" or "Speak something" at three alarm levels prior to the tilt: I got none of them. Playing with the App, it seems that I can get beeps by turning off the voice, but then it seems that the wheel beeps all the time, so I ended up turning alarms 1 and 2 off and only kept alarm 3 at 35 km/h (since I believe 40 km/h is the max until I get to 200km). Also, the "vibrate" option does not seem to do anything. Is the wheel supposed to vibrate or is it the phone? Nothing happens to me. Have other experienced something different?
The range control in the apps goes all the way to 60 km/h, what I happen if I set 60? Would the wheel still alert me at 40km/h (or 50km/h after the 200km)?
I set the alarm 3 at 35 and the tilt back at 38, but if the wheel is smart and there is no "cut off", then I supposed I could just put 38 and 40 instead? Comments? Have some of you tried? What do you use?
Btw, is Darknessbot report's speed supposed to be accurate (with iphone)?
Finally, while it's somewhere on this forum, I am re-sharing one advice to protect the wheel that I found was really useful.
As everyone knows, it's better to protect the wheel from crashes with bumper strips. But don't apply to the wheel directly, because the double tape leaves residues when taking it out. So instead, put first some painting tape and then stick the double tape with the bumper strips on the tape. Here are some pics of my 18L for reference. I took everything off on day 6, absolutely no tape marks.
Thanks to all the people on this forum who continuously provide mentorship!